Wednesday 28th May, (Richmond).
We broke our tradition of short trips only again today as we travelled from Cloncurry to Richmond, 377k. We had intended to stay at Julia Creek, only 130k, but when we arrived there we decided that as we were only having an overnight stay that it might as well be at a rest area for free. There was a rest area further down the road that we had selected, but again nobody else stopped before our time limit of 3:00pm. The rest area was also very close to the highway, with road trains passing all night, and it was also very windy and dusty so we decided to move on to Richmond. We had decided to stay at Richmond for a few days anyway so it might as well be a day earlier.
The only caravan park at Richmond, with the same name, turns out to be a little better than we expected. In smallish towns like this where there is only one park it is usually the case that the park is not of top quality, but this one is not of that norm, it is quite a nice park, and cheap too. At $14.00 per night it would be the cheapest park we have stayed at yet in our two and a half years of travel.
One thing noticed here is that the price of petrol has come down somewhat, but the price of gas has not. Would you believe that the price of gas was the same as petrol, 89c per litre. I bet he doesn’t sell much gas, he didn’t to me anyway.
Monday 26th May, (Cloncurry).
Well it has happened again; Almost a full week has passed since putting down any words. This could be because we are now camped at a rather laid back town, relaxing again and enjoying the little amount to do. This town is Cloncurry, we moved here on Friday and have decided to stay until Wednesday. We are in no rush now, as we really do not have to be in Townsville, about 600k from here, until about the end of June. We are also waiting on a mail delivery at Richmond, about 200k away, and it will not be there until at least Friday.
Cloncurry has its own bit of history; it is the town where the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) commenced. The John Flynn place museum has some quite interesting displays of the setting up of the RFDS.
The Gilbert Park Tourist village is the caravan park we are staying at and they had a bar-b-que last evening, at a minimal cost, and all had a great time and meal. They cooked fish and potato patties and tasted absolutely great. One of the reasons we have extended our stay is another bar-b-que on Tuesday evening and Linda especially will enjoy a second, as she won’t have to cook for the evening.
Tuesday 20th May, (Mount Isa).
Lake Moondarra was the item on the agenda for today. This is a man made lake 15k or so north of Isa and was built for recreational purposes for the local community and for the city’s main water supply. It turned out to be an ideal resting area, being so peaceful and quiet, then it is a week day and no locals were out there.
We also went on a short drive out to the east to have a look and upon returning we noticed our first view of Mount Isa from that direction was not a very impressive one. All one could see was the mine that was towering above anything in the surrounds. This is especially daunting with the locals boasting that Isa is such a large city and one can’t even see it.
Monday 19th May, (Mount Isa).
Mount Isa; We came here with the idea that we have gotten from other travellers that one will either love or hate the place. Even though we are enjoying our time here, I for one can’t really work out the city. It has a feel different to any other that we have visited, it is large but does not seem to have a great deal to see or do, it is reasonably picturesque but does not seem to be photogenic, it does not appear to be much further north than Alice Springs and the terrain is similar but the temperatures are completely different. It has been 35 in the day and 14 at night one day, and 30-7 the other, where Alice has been 15 cooler in the day and 5 cooler at night. The city centre is laid out in an unusual way: it’s as if the buildings came first and the roads built around them. So overall it seems the words of other travellers don’t mean much, as when we form our own opinion it is different to that told to us, we do like the place, but do not love it, nice for a visit though. These ideas probably have a lot to do with the fact that whatever scenery one is looking at the mine is always in the background.
Sunday 18th May, (Mount Isa).
We have now had a couple of days in Isa (Mount Isa) relaxing. It does make it a little hard to relax properly though when the temperatures reach the 30’s during the day and get down to about 7 or 8 during the nights, a bit much of a variation.
We had a look at the tourist information centre today and would you believe there is not really a great deal to do here, unless one’s budget can afford it. It seems a couple of hour mine tour costs about $22.00 per head and all other attractions seem to have a reasonable entry fee as well. I’m afraid our budget will not permit all these fees so maybe all, or most, will be missed.
There is a lake, Moondarra, just northwest of Isa that is supposedly designed to cater for all sorts of recreations so we will visit there soon. There is a caravan park on the entrance to the lake, with the same name, so we will also check this out and if it comes up to our expectations we may move there for a couple of days before we leave Isa.